“The Facebook of China”, Renren to go Public
Renren, dubbed “the Facebook of China” is rumored to be going public in the United States later this year for an unknown quantity. Renren which means “everyone” has 160 million registered users in China where Facebook is blocked. Unlike Facebook, Renren has competition in the Chinese market from several other social sites in China such as Kaixin001 and 51.com and new ones popping up constantly so the social networking space there is more aggressive.
Renren going public will set the stage and perhaps create some momentum for the expected IPOs of Facebook, Groupon, and LinkedIn. Tom Johansmeyer gives Six Reasons Facebook Really Needs To Go Public in 2011, although it is more likely that it will happen in 2012. LinkedIn has already announced it will go public this year to gain as much attention by doing it before Facebook. Facebook will have to start filing financial reports once they pass the 500 shareholder mark which will happen this year. Most companies however usually choose to go public once they face mandatory disclosures.
Once Renren goes public it will be interesting to see how it affect the social media space here. Will it create a race between the big three in the U.S.? Will Facebook try and beat LinkedIn or will LinkedIn speed up their plans?